Trying to Call A Stoner

If you have ever tried to call a stoner, then surely you must be aware of the complications involved. Even when you set an agreed-upon time, you’re not likely to get them “on the horn,” regardless of a scheduled hour being previously specified. It’s simply not within their capacity to have any concept of something as “abstract” yet simultaneously limiting as time. Time, in the end, is for squares. Better known as: people who don’t smoke. What’s up with that anyway? What kind of freak would want to endure life soberly? And how would a stoner even end up as friends with such a person. Well, Cassie had first gotten to know Adriana when they were in elementary school together. Pre-drug intake. A simpler era, to be sure. Back when Cassie could tolerate “taking it straight.” Life, that is.

By junior high, amid her parents’ volatile divorce, Cassie desperately needed something to take the edge off. Her soccer coach, Brandon Morton a.k.a. Coach Morton, was only too happy to offer her a puff one day after practice. Mainly because it meant spending an extra hour or so with her…one-on-one. While Brandon would never actually “do” anything, he felt it couldn’t hurt to look so long as he didn’t touch. He figured that just to be near her a little bit longer would be sufficient, naively underestimating his uncontrollable lust for her. Which Cassie was apparently all too willing to trade in on if it meant she could get a steady supply of this numbing agent that was still novel to her at the time. Indeed, she would credit Coach Morton not only with taking her virginity, but also building up her tolerance for weed early on. Although Adriana was aware that something untoward was going on between Cassie and Coach Morton, she wasn’t on the soccer team, so she couldn’t see it closely enough to truly understand the level of inappropriateness. And while other teammates of Cassie’s could see it, they didn’t care enough to intervene. In fact, they liked that Coach Morton had started ending the practices earlier and earlier, and didn’t want to do anything to rock that boat. Thus, Cassie was able to hone her stoner “skills” for two years before things came to a natural end with Coach Morton, who decided to find a girl his own age once Cassie entered high school.

Cassie knew she had been lucky with the way things had turned out. Because if movies and TV shows were any indication, things could have gone in a much more dramatic direction. She could have gotten pregnant, Coach Morton could have gotten obsessive and stalker-y, Cassie’s parents’ could have found out—the list goes on and on. But the “affair” seemed destined to serve one purpose and one purpose only: to initiate Cassie into the world of stonerdom. As though she went down the rabbit hole just like Alice, and Coach Morton was her white, slightly more fuckable rabbit. Unlike most, she had no trouble taking her first toke, with any noticeable signs of coughing being negligible. She took to it like a soccer coach to jailbait, as it were. And so Adriana, at this current moment in their friendship history, could hardly even remember a period when it wasn’t impossible to bring Cassie back down to Earth.

While many stoners might have difficulty functioning in traditional job roles, Cassie had been fortunate enough to cash in on her early aughts “virality” by parlaying a YouTube video of herself fucked up on anesthesia after going to the dentist into a national commercial for toothpaste wherein she says, “Thanks to regularly brushing with C****te, now I don’t have to go to the dentist so often!” Her mother had taken the video while Cassie was lolling around and talking nonsense in the backseat of the car, not realizing she would hold the key to turning her daughter into a cash cow. The commercial aired for two years, providing Cassie with residuals that allowed her to set up in Venice Beach during what would have been her college years. She found it all very humorous. Mainly because the only reason she had to go under anesthesia at the dentist was to remove some impacted wisdom teeth. But the toothpaste was more sellable if people believed it was because she needed a root canal or some shit from taking poor care of her teeth. Whatever, Cassie thought. She had already learned long ago that people needed to believe a certain narrative in order to be “soothed.”

Adriana had watched her friend’s effortless financial prosperity unfold from the sidelines, going about more conventional means of “achieving success” in the meantime. Just as Cassie did, Adriana would end up in Los Angeles, albeit in a much different neighborhood: Studio City. As was the case with most people, Studio City wasn’t her first choice in terms of a place to live, but it was close to Burbank, and that was what mattered. For it was where her job in franchise development was at Warner Bros. Studios. Despite living “close” by to one another (though anyone who lived in L.A. would tell you that Venice and Studio City were worlds apart), Adriana and Cassie had mostly fallen out of touch save for the occasional phone call and even more occasional “meet and greet” at some equidistant coffee shop. But the latter phenomenon was even harder to finagle out of Cassie than talking on the phone.

Because Cassie had been accustomed to being “on her own schedule” for so long, she had little respect for “hoi polloi” like Adriana, who were daily subjected to the mercilessness of the clock. Of having to be somewhere at a specific hour, with no excuses serving as viable deflections—not even the L.A. favorite: “There was traffic.” Adriana, in contrast to Cassie, couldn’t stand those who had no regard for other people’s time. This was how their friendship had tapered off in spite of living in the same city and being childhood best friends who had shared many formative memories together. Perhaps that was why, one year, out of the blue, Adriana was shocked to see her phone ringing and the caller ID informing her it was Cassie.

“Hello?” she answered with a cautious air to her voice.

“Adriana?” said the uncertain voice on the other end, not belonging to Cassie.


“Hi, this is Cassie’s mother.”

Adriana hadn’t seen Ms. Erickson very often in the years since she divorced Adriana’s father, Mr. Demoize. But she could still see her as she was in her mind’s eye. Always with her hair in a high ponytail and wearing some kind of floral-print dress. Shaking herself out of the memory, she replied, “Oh hi, Ms. Erickson… is everything okay?”

“Um, I’m not sure, to be honest. I’m calling to see when the last time you heard from Cassie was.”

Without missing a beat, Adriana returned, “We had scheduled a call about a month ago, but I never heard from her. Which wasn’t unusual. In fact, it’s very normal for Cassie.”

Pausing before getting to the point, Ms. Erickson announced, “I think she’s gone missing.”

At the sound of those words, Adriana had no choice but to recall the scene she had been trying to block out from the moment it happened.

The truth was, Adriana had gone over to Cassie’s house last month, intending solely to give her a piece of her mind over her latest refusal to adhere to a scheduled call. Who did she think she was? And why did Adriana still bother trying to keep the friendship alive? These were some of the demands fired at a totally baked shell of the girl she had known all those years ago. The one she was apparently still clinging to as a means to justify all this time and energy wasted. Throughout her tirade, Cassie remained stoic, mute. And it was her typical lackadaisical aura and total absence of concern over anything whatsoever that finally drove Adriana to her breaking point. She went right up to Cassie and started strangling her. It was so easy. Cassie did nothing to fight back, already staring back at Adriana dead-eyed as it was.

Realizing the gravity of what she had done, Adriana got rid of the body by cutting it up in the bathtub and disposing of its various dismembered pieces in trash bags that she then tossed into a dumpster in Hollywood in the still of the night. Someone would probably tell themselves it was just “props” if they stumbled upon the limbs. Everyone needs to believe a certain narrative in order to be “soothed.” That’s what Cassie had found out long ago, as her lie of a toothpaste commercial reiterated. And that’s what Adriana was reminded of now, as Ms. Erickson asked her if she might know of Cassie’s whereabouts.

So she told her something that would be “soothing.” Closing her eyes and envisioning it herself so that it would sound real, Adriana assured, “You know, she did mention something about having a boyfriend down in Mexico. She might have just gone there for a while on a whim.”

“Without packing? Without her phone?”

“That’s how Cassie is, you know that. She’s not exactly a ‘think it through’ type of girl.”

“I suppose…”

Silence ensued until Ms. Erickson allowed the soothing effects of the falsity to take hold. “I’m sure you’re right. But if you do hear from her, please let me know.”

“Oh of course I will, I’m just sorry you made the trip down here.”

“It’s fine. It’s not the worst place to end up.”

Adriana laughed. “Certain East Coast cunts might disagree with you.”

“Luckily, I’m not an East Coast cunt. Just a regular one.”

Adriana had to admire Ms. Erickson’s sense of humor. Especially after everything she had gone through with Mr. Demoize, now “happily” remarried to someone much younger, and far more open to nonstop verbal abuse.

It was only a week later that Adriana called Ms. Erickson to tell her that she had heard from Cassie, and that her plan was to stay down in Mexico. Ms Erickson went along with the story, especially since Adriana sounded so calm, so steady. What Ms. E. couldn’t have known was that, deciding to enjoy of some of her friend’s remaining “resources,” Adriana had just taken a huge dab while sitting on Cassie’s couch prior to delivering the fake news. From the instant she did it, she felt as though she could understand what Cassie had been in love with this entire time, and that she was a total asshole for begrudging her for that love. However, a brief flicker of sobriety had her pushing that thought away with, “Still, how fucking hard is it to answer the phone when you set a time with someone?”


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